Working in Nagoya (Japan)

Monthly Earnings 80,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

75,000 baht for my salary and a further 5,000 baht for private tuition. I'm planning to do more private tuition in the future but the transport costs in Japan can eat into the hourly pay and unless the client is close, it's not so economically viable.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

A good month would be 40,000 baht but it's usually 28-35,000.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I'm fortunate to be staying with my partner at her parent's 3-bedroom house. They charge me 15,000 baht a month for board.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


6,300 baht. I gave up my car when I moved here and have been using the train. I'm thinking of getting a bike which is also very popular with Japanese people. My wife has an automatic, hybrid car but I can't get use to the sensitive brakes!

Utility bills

All included in my board.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

Food is in my board but I do pay for my own lunch. Bentos aren't cheap so maybe 3,000 baht a month for lunch. There are many restaurants that are reasonably priced, certainly not as expensive as I anticipated. There's a range from budget to mid value to fine dining ¥¥¥. We eat out at least once a week and alternate the bill. Possibly 2,700-3,000 a month. A monthly food shop would probably cost around 5,000 baht

Nightlife and drinking

I once bought a Guinness in Tokyo for £5 and Stella Artois in Japan is ridiculously expensive. Thankfully, I've developed a taste for the local brews and found cheaper bottled Guinness and imports. Shop around and use discount vouchers in newspapers. I've just passed my sell by date for nightclubbing so 1,600 baht a month.

Books, computers

The school gives me any books I ask for. However, I like to read and develop my language skills. 250 baht a month. My phone bill is 1,400 a month.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

It's comfortable but I earned more money in England as a supply teacher and private tutor. Japan can be expensive if you allow it to be. Shop around and use second hand stores and there's money to save. The delicious food, low crime rate, pleasant natives, warmer climate and beautiful women does make for a more tranquil life. I feel that I need at least another year to immerse myself in order to judge the standard of living. There's definitely more for me to experience.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Clothing. Good quality material clothes are relatively inexpensive and second hand phones can be as well. Furthermore, old rusting bikes are ten a penny and can be had cheaply.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

In order to survive with few luxuries I would estimate approximately 180,000 yen (51,000 baht) a month. To feel like your getting ahead, maybe 245,000 yen (70,000 baht). 300,000 - 350,000 yen (85,000 - 100,000 baht) and you are very comfortable. However, this is all subjective.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thank you DJ for an interesting and honest survey there. 

In the 90's you used to hear a lot from teachers in Japan and in many ways, it always felt liked the streets were paved with gold for the TEFLer wandering around Asia.  However, Japan seems to have slipped under the radar over the last decade or so as a TEFL destination.  You hear plenty about China and the countries bordering Thailand, etc but no so much Japan.

I have always found Japan to be very reasonable for getting around, eating out, etc but of course, I have only seen it through the eyes of a tourist. I'm sure that if you are living and working there, your figure of 85,000 to 100,000 baht a month is what you would ultimately be aiming for. 

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